Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dealer: South

Vul: E/W

J 9 4
A 4 2
K 4 2
10 7 5 4
West East
10 8 3 7 5 2
Q 10 9 8 7 6 J 3
9 7 Q 10 6 5
6 2 Q J 9 3
A K Q 6
K 5
A J 8 3
A K 8


South West North East
2 Pass 2 Pass
2 NT Pass 6 NT All Pass

Opening Lead:10

“The old order changeth, yielding place to new;

And God fulfills himself in many ways,

Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.”

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Today’s six-no-trump deal, from the second qualifying session of last year’s Life Master Open Pairs, offers some fine technical points.


Say you receive a heart lead, the most awkward for you because it potentially damages the entries to dummy. The way forward is not clear, but you cash the club ace and nothing good happens. Do you play the club king and another club? That could be right if East has honor-doubleton in the suit, but as the cards lie, that line would lead to instant defeat. At the table, South guessed well to duck a club at trick two. The defenders won and cleared hearts. When declarer cashed the remaining top club, he found the bad news. What now?


At this point, declarer fell from grace. He crossed to dummy with the diamond king to finesse in diamonds, but he no longer had the communication for a squeeze. If he runs four spades first, he ends up in the wrong hand, and cashing only three spades to end in dummy exerts no pressure.


The right line is to use the spade jack as the entry to dummy. Cash three spades, ending in dummy, finesse the diamond queen, and then take the fourth spade, planning to pitch dummy’s heart unless it is good. As the cards lie, this line will squeeze East in diamonds and clubs, but would also exert pressure on West in the unlikely event that he had 1-6-4-2 shape without the diamond queen.

ANSWER: This double shows a good hand for defense. Since your hand is a maximum and it too is suited for defense, you have no reason to remove the double, especially when you have only three trumps and not particularly good ones. If your partner wanted to make a try for game, he would bid three hearts; a call of three spades would be purely competitive.


South Holds:

J 9 4
A 4 2
K 4 2
10 7 5 4


South West North East
  1 1 Pass
2 3 Dbl. Pass


For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2009. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact